Modest Snapping Shrimp
Synalpheus modestus


After diving here in Lembeh for over two years, pretty much every day, I did not know these shrimp existed.

Some of our divers came back form a dive this week and I saw a photo one of them had taken, of this wonderful snapping shrimp, red with yellow and blue eyes….’Wow’ I thought, ‘I’d love to see on of those,,,,’, but thought that they had seen something very rare….

When a strange creature I haven’t seen before come along, the next thing I do is talk to all the guides about it. Most of them had not seen it too, but one of them knew where they lived, more specifically he knew what sort of soft coral they lived inside (thanks Jony!!!)

I took a dive guide with me the next day and we quickly discovered that rather than being very rare, these wonderful shrimp are actually fairly common, just very shy and well hidden. You just have to know where to look. And that’s what makes Lembeh guides so amazing, they know where to look..

Snapping Shrimp, and there are many different types, are distinctive for their remarkably disproportionate large claw, larger than half the shrimp’s body. The claw can be on either arm of the body, and unlike most shrimp claws does not have pincers at the end. Rather, it has a pistol-like feature made of two parts. A joint allows the “hammer” part to move backward into a right-angled position. When released, it snaps into the other part of the claw, emitting an enormously powerful wave of bubbles capable of stunning larger fish and breaking small glass jars.

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